It is important to use a standard template for business plans. There are ten sections to these plans, in order they are: : Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan, and Appendix. You should not deviate from this basic structure, you want investors to be able to find whatever piece of information they are looking for so fill out these sections in this order with what you know about each.
Most of the research you will need to do is for competitive analysis, customer analysis and industry analysis sections of your plan. Find and utilize reliable sources, those trusted by your industry to unearth trends, market facts and statistics. For your financial plan, operations plan and marketing plan sections, you should research available labor pool, potential locations, and start up and operating costs in your niche. Your own company will be subject to research as well, including required and existing labor for your company analysis section.
3. Strategy Development
When research is complete, you will determine the wisdom of going on with your business plan. You might discover that your business has no market and scrap it altogether. On the other hand if you find a potential market, make sure you map all streams of revenue from said market to your company coffers. All of this information will be placed in the marketing plan section. Your operations plan will detail how the company will be operated.
4. Financial Calculations
The most scrutinized area of your business plan will be the financial plan. Revenues, costs and activities must be clearly stated in accounting terms. This creates the very important pro forma or projected financial statement. A spreadsheet program with a financial template is a good idea for this section. Unless you are an accountant yourself, you may want to consult a professional.
The best way to create your business plan is to write it in this order: Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Company Analysis, Management Team, Financial Plan, and finally the Executive Summary. The final executive summary should cover the highlights of the entire plan and urge investors to read the rest of your business plan. Now move your summary to the front of the class and tack on your appendix, which is where you will support all the claims in your plan.
A big mistake those new to writing business plans make is to focus to thoroughly on their business and spend too little time on researching and understanding the industry and market in which they will compete. When you understand this concept, you will put together a business plan that makes investors sit up and pay attention.